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PD Quaver
Elly Robin goes to War
PD Quaver, author
Having at last cleared her name after nearly two years as a notorious fugitive, 17-year-old piano prodigy Elly Robin learns that her true love, Edwin Friend, has finally realized his dream of flying for the American Escadrille, and she travels to war-torn France to reunite with him. But Edwin's plane has been shot down over Germany, compelling him to undertake a desperate journey through an alien land. While Elly's search for Edwin entangles her in a series of exploits--driving ambulances, fighting aerial duels--culminating in a perilous espionage mission for which she too must travel behind enemy lines…
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.75 out of 10


Plot/Idea: In book eight of Quaver's The Ordeals of Elly Robin sees the titular character, a talented pianist, travel to France to find her love, Edwin Friend, who is flying for the American Escadrille. As exciting and fun as Elly's roundabout challenges are, there is a bit of a disconnect between each new event that makes for a less fluid progression throughout the narrative. Still, the storytelling remains engrossing.

Prose: Quaver's writing style is personable and engaging, inviting readers to connect with the characters right from the start.

Originality: Quaver is a formidable author who crafts a fresh and inspired narrative that will keep readers consistently absorbed. The historical era is beautifully conveyed with a level of detail that brings a level of striking maturity to the story.

Character/Execution: Elly is a vibrant and capable character whose evolution from girl in love to spy extraordinaire is riveting. Readers will easily fall in love with her and seek out the other titles in the series. 

Date Submitted: April 25, 2024

Elly Robin fans will be thrilled with the return of Quaver’s singular heroine—now sailing to France on the hunt for Edwin Friend, her “one true love”—in this eighth installment of his Ordeals of Elly Robin series, after Elly Robin in Harlem. When Edwin, an aviator with the First World War’s elite American Escadrille, is shot down over Germany and only narrowly escapes death and imprisonment, he finds refuge in a remote German village—and falls for Ilse Gruber, the widow who nurses him back to health. Meanwhile, Elly, desperate to be reunited, careens through France—and, eventually, behind enemy lines in Germany—flying planes, sinking a U-boat, and playing spy, all while searching for Edwin.

Elly’s adventures are every bit as colorful as readers have come to expect with this extraordinary prodigy, and Quaver sketches a believable historical setting alongside her incredible feats. As with other volumes, the pages are teeming with fascinating characters—including real historical figures Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, and, of course, the Crown Prince of Germany, William—but the characters who linger most in memory include Ilse and the imposing Olive King, an Australian ambulance driver working for Britain’s Voluntary Aid Department, whose tough-talking, steely exterior conceals a true heart of gold. The female leads are trailblazers, each in their own way, a testament to the often-unsung roles of women in World War I.

Though Elly’s operations still take center stage, Edwin, too, faces bizarre twists of fate, and, through their alternating perspectives, Quaver evocatively portrays early 20th century Europe, both rural and urban, as the war’s senseless tragedies overtake much of the continent. Even Elly’s induction into the Escadrille crackles with authenticity, and her devotion to Edwin eventually pays off—though the ending is as gut-wrenching as it is sweet, leaving Elly with a measure of hope that better times may be on the horizon.

Takeaway: Young woman’s search for her true love in WWI Europe.

Comparable Titles: Caroline Scott’s The Poppy Wife, Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A-
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A